Think of Your Fear Like a Wet Suit

2013-2014As I go into the new year I’ve committed myself to an attitude of gratitude. However, that also means that there is a transitional phase from negative attitudes and mindsets that have to be managed. It’s a little like a corporate takeover. A lot of sorting out to do before it all settles down again. Oh how nice it would be to have my very own “Easy Button”!!

Today I noticed that I was feeling really tight in my chest and down in mood. I tried telling myself to stop it, but that didn’t work. Then, I tried closing my eyes and breathing, that didn’t work either. What gives??

As I searched for answers, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about using “LAG” as my new conflict management style and I thought, maybe this will work for conflict within me as well.

LAG is an acronym for a conflict management style I created to help me create the life I want to be living. It stands for these three steps in the process: “Lean-in”, “Accept”, “Go on”. I’ve started applying it to situations where I am in conflict with others and today I learned it could also be applied to internal conflict.

LAG: Step 1: When I “Leaned-in” to the feeling, my mind fought very hard to run away. It did not want to focus on the ill-feeling at all. I kept saying to myself, “Stay with it”. “You are safe”. I kept breathing in and out to stay calm. When I breathed in I said, “breathe in”. When I exhaled, I said, “breathe out”. That kept me better focused.

When I felt less flooded, I asked myself, “What are you feeling?” “How would you describe it in one word?” The answer came – “I feel rejected”.

I thought, ok. Now we’re on to something. The feeling has been identified. I had no idea until this moment how often I actually never knew what I was specifically feeling. It was just “bad” and I wanted to avoid it and get as quickly as possible to good. That’s all I knew.

It makes sense now why my internal conflict never got resolved as it arose. Negative feelings just kept building up until I began to feel helpless and hopeless in my life. I felt like a prisoner who was put on this earth to do her time. As if I were chosen to be unhappy, while others were chosen to have a fulfilling life. I have felt powerless in my own life for a really long time.

LAG: Step 2: “Acceptance” – I said to myself, “thank you for sharing that. I accept that you feel rejected. That must be very painful. How can I help?” Much nicer 🙂

??????????????????????????????????????????????I waited a bit for an answer and then seemingly out of nowhere, an image of myself on a beach wearing a zippered wet suit popped into my head. The suit felt tight and constricting. My skin felt clammy. I could smell the salty air, hear the waves lapping onto the shoreline and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I just stood there and took it all in for awhile.

A few moments later, a guiding voice spoke to me over my shoulder.

“What if I told you your pain of rejection could be removed at any time you chose?”I said, “Shoot. I’m all ears”. He said, “Unzip your wet suit and let it fall to the ground. Walk forward and feel the warm grains of sand between your toes. Look behind you and see your pain balled up and lying on the ground. You can pick it up anytime you want and suit back up or you can leave it there and go for a swim in the ocean and clean off all the residue that it left behind”.

LAG: Step 3: “Go On” – I decided to walk into the ocean and swim. It felt good to get the suit off. I kept swimming until all the residue was gone and I felt refreshed. I found myself smiling and laughing again. I felt lighter.

After taking myself through the process, I now understand why my initial attempts to deal with the feeling that arose didn’t calm me down. By flat out telling the feeling to STOP, I was completely ignoring and avoiding it. Then, with zero tolerance or acceptance, I wanted to flush it out with my breath without taking a moment to understand its purpose for being there. Very rude of me actually!

I looked back at the wet suit on the shore and thought about how I don’t have to wear outfits just because someone else thinks they suit me well and I can take them off at any time.

In more practical terms. Let’s say you are in fact being rejected by someone or a group of people. Do you have to feel ashamed of yourself and wear your feeling of rejection like a full body wet suit sponsored by, “THEY REJECT ME”? No, not really.

And here’s the kicker. You can still acknowledge to yourself that they reject you because they very likely may not like you or want you around. It happens.

You don’t have to treat yourself like a reject.

That’s where most of us end up in major pain. When we agree with another persons opinion of us, we are subconsciously feeling that other people know us better than we know ourselves. We give them permission to change us to become what they say we are, what they limit us to. This is the express lane to pain, depression & loss of self.

it's not personal

Instead, you can just accept that they do reject you and that it sucks.

Remind yourself that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.  YOU are not a failure because of this.

You are still that same awesome, talented, special person with so much to offer this world no matter what other people say.

People who try to make you feel bad about yourself are really unhappy people. Believe it or not, it is NOT personal at all. They are just showing you how bad they feel inside. Something in you reminds them of a quality they wish they had inside but they don’t know how to achieve it.

Pray for them. Acknowledge that they are in pain. But under no circumstances do you let what’s going on in them define who you are. It’s separate.

Instead of carrying their load as if it were your own, bless and release them.

You just may not currently be with a person or a group that honors your gifts in the best way. It’s just not a good fit. Focus your energy and talents on honoring yourself and surrounding yourself by people who do honor you.

You’re already good enough as yourself.

Happy New Year and lots of love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Out with the Old, In with the New

You know how Facebook now shows you your “Year in Review”?  It got me thinking about how easy it is to forget all of the little and big things you really accomplish in a year.  When you’re stuck in the day to day, sometimes you can get into a pattern of beating yourself up and forget that you are in fact moving forward and growing after all.

ImageSo, I sat down and wrote out my TOP 15 LIST of things I’m proud of.  It turned out 10 wasn’t enough.  Who knew?

TOP 15 LIST of ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2013

  1. Quit Smoking after 15 years (9 months and counting!)
  2. Got a new job
  3. Bought a brand new car
  4. Became a Certified Personal Trainer
  5. Hit a milestone for bench squat weight
  6. Redid my kitchen and basement DIY style 🙂
  7. Had a blast with my college roomate who i hadn’t seen in 10 years
  8. Spent part of the summer with my sister and niece
  9. Visited Portland with the help of a new friend
  10. Fell in and out of love more times than i can count
  11. Made 2 true friends
  12. Reconnected with my family
  13. Saw Maroon 5 thanks to my mom’s ability to win tickets for anything from the radio 🙂
  14. Started a blog that I care about and managed to have people follow it (thank you!!)
  15. Have begun to love who I am warts and all and accept other people as they are too

When I looked at the list I thought, wow I really don’t give myself enough credit or see the whole picture.  I’m way too often bogged down by negative feelings like there’s some dark cloud over my head.

ImageI wondered how much more I could appreciate my days if I had an attitude of gratitude. How much further could I get with that kind of mindset?

So, on the heels of my TOP 15 LIST (see below), I’m going to go into this New Year with another kind of list and a whole other focus. I don’t want to let another year go by without noticing and appreciating the positive impact I’m making in my life and the lives of others.  I don’t want to wait until the end of it to enjoy it.

I’m letting go of my negative attitude and going to do everything I can to pay attention and acknowledge the positives.

TOP 15 GOALS FOR 2014

  1. Write down my gratitude list daily 
  2. Repeat my positive affirmations consistently
  3. Develop my personal training business into a big success
  4. Improve all my relationships
  5. Eat healthy
  6. Exercise daily
  7. Meditate daily
  8. Smile no matter what
  9. Acknowledge my unique talents & love myself better
  10. Open up & risk trusting myself and others again
  11. Laugh everyday
  12. Follow my passions relentlessly, no matter how many times I may fail, get back up
  13. Take a trip overseas
  14. Assist those in need
  15. Love like my life depends on it 🙂

ImageSo there you have it and now you can hold me to it!  It’s pretty big for me to make these kinds of changes and I’m not going to lie it scares me, but I guess it’s a sign that I’m on the right track.

As you go into this New Year, what do you want to say goodbye to and what do you want to open the door to?

Happy New Year from aneternaltraveler 😉

LAG: Lean-in, Accept, Go on

Happy Holidays All – I took a break from writing to soak up the season’s blessings.  I hope you have been enjoying the season as well.  

Many of us struggle all year long with challenging relationships and the holidays seem only to further intensify our challenges.  Today, I’d like to share with you a practical lesson I learned about the meaning of detachment and I hope it will help you too when you’re head starts spinning.

One of the hardest concepts I struggled with during meditation was this concept of letting your thoughts pass without reacting. I imagined it something like sitting on your front porch and watching the cars go by mindlessly. Except for me each time a “car” went by I had some emotional attachment to every vehicle. I just couldn’t get this idea down.

Sometimes life has a funny way of helping you figure out the answers to your questions. You could sit and try all you want to focus on it and just fail, fail, fail. Then, one day a situation totally unrelated to meditation (or whatever your working on) shows you how it all works.

Let me explain,

I recently found myself in a very difficult situation and what I’d typically do when encountering conflict is something I call REDI: React, Engage, Decide, Implement. I assumed that I had to take quick decisive action in all situations as if it were a crisis.

I’ve lived so much of my life in crisis that the moments in between were what felt unsettling. If you’ve experienced a major trauma or successive traumas in your life you’ll be familiar with what I am talking about.

What often happens is that over time more hurt than you can manage builds up and you can become hyper-vigilant (living in fear that danger/a threat is always right around the corner). Then, when any conflict shows up, you’re already suited up and ready for battle, both barrels loaded.

You don’t really think, you just react instinctively to protect yourself. Often you’ll push the conflict away so forcefully that you end up hurting yourself more in the process because you overdo it. Other times, you let yourself lash out at someone thinking that this time you will “win” your power back. You feel like you are rightfully defending your position. You are certain that you must engage EVERY time.

I began reflecting on my REDI approach to life and thought about how I wanted to move forward. Something felt like it wasn’t working anymore, so I finally stopped and pictured what I wanted my life look like. Then, I asked myself what I’d have to do to make that reality.  A couple of hours later my mind was opened by a series of questions. As I answered them, something shifted in my way of thinking.

What if I just leaned into the pain and let it be itself instead of avoiding it? What if I accepted the person and the situation as is and didn’t take it personally? What if I already did all that I needed to do by removing myself from the situation? What if no further decision had to be made for the future of the relationship? What if I could just let it all be and go on with my life instead of rehashing it and hanging on?

So, I answered that barrage of questions by doing it. And you know what? I felt better. I had energy for other things and I think I’m going to change my acronym for conflict management to: LAG: Lean-in, Accept, Go on.

That “LAG” from Conflict to Implementation can provide just enough space to see that you are separate from the conflicts you encounter.  That doesn’t mean you are not responsible for your actions.  You just don’t have to identify so much with the pain and distress that you become it.

In fact, at any point using LAG can be helpful. You can use it from the very start of the conflict all the way through to the moment you walk away or anytime after.  

Look at it this way, If it is taking that much energy to hang on to the pain…just let it go and let LAG.  

Now I understand that you CAN sit down and meditate and let those memories pass by without reacting, when you finally untangle your Self from your experiences, You can lower the drama in your life almost immediately because you don’t judge yourself or others in the process of recalling memories. Suddenly, it is very clear that there is nothing to defend. You are not fighting for your life. You are ok. You are safe.

Have you had a situation which inspired you to see why your old ways of reacting weren’t serving you and how you could do better?  Share you story here.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

Peace Be with You

I had this sent to me in an email today and I wanted to share it with all of you. I could think of nothing more to add. I hope you enjoy it.

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has
been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

With love from aneternaltraveler ; )

Enough is Enough!

Today stands out as one of those moments that I know I will never forget.  A breakthrough.  An Oprah Aha! moment. A shift inside of me. Today, I stood up and said, ENOUGH!  I reclaimed my voice.

First a little background,

Since I began my job 4 months ago, I’ve had nothing but problems with co-workers after the 1st week into the job.  Too much gossip and trash talk behind people’s back.  A bunch of petty garbage that serves no good purpose and creates a lot of hurt.  What’s made matters worse is that my Team Lead is the ring leader.  

I began documenting the issues (abusive language, screaming, belittling, bullying, etc.) because it was so consistently toxic.  I was told to keep my mouth shut and just learn the way things are done around here.

It freaked me out, but I pushed on and repeatedly attempted to resolve it directly with the people involved.  Finally, I was left with no other choice but to take it to the next level and bring my written record to the administration.  It was at best partially handled because nobody wanted to get their hands dirty.

So, all that really changed is that everything happened behind my back and I was communicated with via email and never spoken to face-to-face.  Whenever someone had an issue and involved me, no one asked for my perspective.  I was just immediately accused via email and told to correct my behavior.  

What’s more, because the Team Lead was not reprimanded, she became emboldened to press on, turning targeting me into a sport. This in turn set an example for the rest of my team to put their frustrations onto me and report them to her in an effort to ass kiss and be on the “winning team”.

So up to current day,

I returned to work today after being out sick to find one of my co-workers confronting me about whether I said to a higher up that “she didn’t know what she was doing” when we worked together on Monday.  I was floored.  I cleared the matter up with her while finding out who said what.  

Something snapped inside.  I was done. Fed up. Enough was enough.

I went on a mission.  I traced the conversation and talked to each person who was involved until I found out the Team Lead is the one who twisted what she was told about my comments.

Immediately after that I went right to the administration to set up a meeting to explain what was going on.  I said, “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!!”  This needs to be resolved once and for all.  I cannot come into work with this anxiety and have my Team Lead trash talking me and creating conflict between myself and other team members.

Even if I had said something like that about a co-worker, what possible value would there be in sharing it with her, but to create trouble and cause alienation.  I can’t help but feel that she is trying to push me out of my job.

So, now we all have a meeting on Friday and I’m going in with both barrels loaded.  

Getting Your Groove Back

We don’t always know when we will get our confidence back or feel sure on our feet again, but when it happens we will recognize it. Today was that day for me.  It all clicked into place and I was calm, clear, focused and ready for battle.

Whatever the outcome, I will not continue with or exit from this place without making clear the kind of behavior that is going on.  And I am at peace with whatever will be.  I know in my heart I can trust that there is a plan to all of this.

But there is one thing I know for sure,

There comes a point in life when you simply have to stand up and say NO! Enough is Enough!!

 

– With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

 

 

 

 

Travel Picture Gallery – Egypt

Some selected pics from my travels out and about Egypt 😉  Enjoy!

Travel Picture Gallery – Ecuador

Shifting Perspectives

The other night I was having a conversation with my “guardian angel” on the phone and explaining to her how I am at my wits end with my life and in desperate need of a change towards the good. I feel so tired of coming up empty handed.

I explained that I’m ready to sell my house, pay off my debt and get the hell out of dodge so I can heal whatever is going on and move forward. I feel like I’m treading water and failing miserably.

She said, honey let’s look at this – ok you’re not satisfied with your current work situation. You don’t like the debt hanging over your head. You’ve been through 2 divorces which have completely shaken your confidence to the core. At the same time, I’ve watched you take on challenge after challenge on your own and untangle yourself from a lot of things over these past couple of years. And you keep coming out ahead. Heck, you’ve not even passed your Certified Personal Trainer test yet and you’ve already got someone signed up to work 6 months with you starting in 2014.

So, let’s put this all together. You want to get out of debt. You want the freedom that comes with owning your own business, you want to get your confidence back, and you want to transform lives.

Image

If you can help this girl lose 40 lbs in 6 months for her wedding, you will not only transform her life, you’ll transform your own.

You’ll build the confidence you need and you’ll make money to get out of debt doing work you love.

Isn’t that an alternative to having a fire sale?

If I still decide that I want to sell my house to have the capital to take on a new venture to transform lives wouldn’t it feel better then?

I’m sure it would.

I can’t underscore enough the importance of having at least one person in your life that you can trust. Someone who you can be really honest with and can offer you different perspectives to your own problems. I’m not saying you have to take their advice, but it is good to consider solutions from different perspectives before making your own decision.

Back to the drawing board?

– With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

There are Many Ways to Kill Yourself

There are times in this life when I feel like every effort adds up to nothing. It gets so hard sometimes to think of a way out because your mind is already overburdened with everything you’re already doing to get through the day.

How do you decide what can be let go of when it seems like each pieces has been perfectly placed to keep all the other pieces from falling?

It feels like a life constructed of scrap materials you’ve collected along the way.

You keep accepting less and less of what you want, until one day you no longer know what you want, but you’re sure you don’t want the life you’ve made.

You’ve compromised so much for so long you’re not sure how to reach for more or what that “more” even is.

turning point

If someone asked you what you want, you’d probably start describing everything you don’t want because you’re not sure how to answer that question in the affirmative.

All you know is that you’re heading towards a point where you’re ready to chuck it all, one way or another!

It turns out that there are many ways to kill yourself.  I’ll give a few examples,

  1. You can compromise yourself out of existence.
  2. You can actually kill your physical self
  3. You can “kill” what you’ve become up until this point and start over brick by brick.

Personally, I’ve done #1, attempted #2, and I’m mighty curious about #3 right now.

So, in ever growing desperation for solace and solutions, I ordered Jack Canfield’s, “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You are to Where You Want to Be.”

I literally couldn’t find a bad review for this method and trust me, I searched out to 50 pages on google.  Now that either means it works if you work it or they have a really good IT team scouring and purging the web of bad reviews.

Now, I also have Louise Hay’s, “You Can Heal Your Life”, which feels more like a therapeutic compliment to Jack’s book.

I’d like to experiment with putting the two together to create a therapeutic plan of my own designed to:

“Heal My Life as I Get to Where I Want to Be” (see what I did there?  Pretty creative, eh?)

walk through a wall

I feel a lot of pressure building up inside of me and the need for a radical change to jump start my life again.

To piggyback on Bernard Malamud’s words of wisdom, I feel like I’ve got some serious walls to break through to get where I need to go.

Down the not too distant road I envision myself also doing a few other daring things far more daunting than buying books from amazon.com.

I’ve come to realize that there are a few things that are a big deal to me.

  1. Pay Off Debt Completely:  Sell my house and most of my things.
  2. Heal My Life: Use the money left over to go live somewhere dirt cheap, whether that’s in the USA or overseas doesn’t matter to me.  I need a place to work on my “therapeutic plan”.
  3. Help Others: Reach a point where I’m on the other side of it all and turn it into a How-to-Guide for others experiencing the same thing.

turn the page or close the bookIn a nutshell, that is what I want.  Pretty much nothing else feels as import as achieving these 3 goals right now.

I don’t know how long it will take, but I do know it hurts too much to keep doing what I’m doing for too much longer.  I also know that I’m at the point where I’ve finally found something to fight for and I’m willing to die trying.  And that is a feeling I haven’t had for anything in quite a long time.

In one of the beginning chapters of Jack Canfield’s book he asks us to write our purpose.  Here is mine.  This is what I live for.  This is why I want to do everything I do.  This is why I need to do what I need to do to get where I want to go.

“My purpose is to use my creativity and insight to support and inspire you to fulfill your life purpose, to reach your greatest potential and finally be at peace within yourself and with others. ” 

So, to I will leave you with this recently home-cooked meal as food for thought,

“This is my life.  It belongs to no one else.  I only have this one to live.  I can live it in any way I choose.  If I choose life, then I must make it the best one I can.  I have a responsibility to respect my own existence and do whatever it takes to bring out the best of myself and offer up my talents as gifts to this world. ”

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

All Talk, No Action

ImageToo often we get distracted by the pretty sounding words that spill out so easily from another person’s mouth.  We are kept in place and held up from creating meaningful relationships with people who go beyond words and show you how they feel.

How often have you encountered someone who says things like,

“I miss you”

“I love you”

“We should get together”

“I support you”

…but they make no effort to show you?

You can say you love me, you miss me, you want to get together, or whatever else you want, but if you don’t make the effort and show me, then you may as well not say it at all.  

When you base your decisions and life choices on people who offer little more than words, you are denying yourself a world of genuine happiness and authenticity.

Do you have friendships with people who say they miss you, but never make and effort to see you?  Are you in a romantic relationship where the person says, I love and support you, but there is no evidence that this is the case or they even sabotage your efforts when the time for action comes?  Are you that person?  Think long and hard.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  You get one shot at life.

How many times have you ignored the lack of evidence and continued to hang on to the words instead?  How long have you been waiting for the other person to make it happen?  How much space have you given people in your life that don’t demonstrate that they value you in theirs?  Have you ever been the one to give someone false hope?

Friendships, romantic relationships, professional relationships require effort from all parties involved in order to be successful for all parties involved.  Every time you allow someone to stay “rent free” (that is; all talk, no action) in your life, you are diminishing your own happiness and giving space to emotional freeloaders.  The same applies for those who string people along to avoid taking action in their own lives.  You don’t get a free pass.

ImageTo turn it all around, begin by just noticing the people in your life that are following through on what they say and those who are not.  Just take notice.  You’ll be surprised how just seeing the lack of evidence will give you a reality check in your life.

When you’re ready to make the change into a life filled with people who SHOW you, not just TELL you, here’s a little “empowerment mantra” I developed which you can borrow to keep you on track:

“Please understand that in order for me to take you seriously, you’ll have to make an actual effort to bring your said desire into reality with me.  Please also understand that the available space in my life is only reserved for those who will follow-through.”

You can have the life you want, but it all starts with taking off the blinders in your current reality and making the effort yourself to focus on quality of life.

——Please share your thoughts on how your life changed when you got real about the “talkers” vs. the “doers” in your life.—–

–With love from aneternaltraveler 😉